Bali bomber Umar Patek’s journey to meet bin Laden

By Maria Ressa

Posted at Jun 22 2011 09:28 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2011 05:28 AM

More details surfacing about Indonesian Umar Patek’s activities:

1. He told authorities he married his Filipina wife, Ruqoyah Binti Husen Luceno, in 1998. She was a teacher at a “primary school madrassah.” She was arrested with him in January this year in the same town where bin Laden was killed – Abbottabad, Pakistan.

2. Top Indonesian officials said Patek was trying to meet bin Laden. One US source says the meeting happened. A well-placed US military source agrees. Still, no other nations who have access to Patek have verified that claim. But if true, this has interesting implications for the coming months. (See below).

3. Patek was in the Philippines from 2002 to 2009. In June, 2009, he and his wife went from Sabah, Malaysia to Kalimantan in Indonesia by ship. They went on to Surabaya and on to Jakarta by bus.

4. On Aug. 20, 2010, they boarded a flight, did a transit stop in Bangkok, and arrived in Lahore, Pakistan.

5. They were arrested about 5 months later after a tip from the CIA. Pakistani authorities were led to Patek after they trailed a known Al-Qaeda operative.

Implications:

It seems clear that the old JI network has regenerated and had more plots in the works. In 2009, Dulmatin and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir raised money, recruited for and organized a training camp in Aceh, which was discovered by Indonesian authorities in Feb. 2010.

The path there began with the Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott bombings in 2009. The JI network has evolved. Many of its members had by now joined the latest Ba’asyir reincarnation – a group he named Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid in 2008.

The bombs in 2009 were created by Noordin’s JI faction (now apparently working with JAT), and they had several plots in the works, including one to assassinate Indonesian President Bambang Yudhoyono.

Authorities discovered – and foiled – that plot less than a month before it was supposed to have been carried out. They found the vehicle and explosives, say intelligence sources. According to another, the suicide bomber was already in Jakarta.

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